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How to Hire for a Results-Driven Culture

By Allyson Biegeleisen, Vice President of Client Services

Earlier this month, I attended the Deloitte Nonprofit Summit, a day-long conference geared towards building the capacity of the nonprofit sector. Attended by approximately 150 nonprofit leaders, practitioners, and foundations, the group was eager to learn practical lessons to bring back to their organizations. The main topic of the event was “Creating a Results-Driven Organization,” and content focused on what it means for organizations’ cultures and teams to focus on results and outcomes. 

I found this to be a really refreshing approach to the topic. Occasionally, when organizations talk about being results-oriented, it’s often a response to the funder-driven need to gather and use data in order to demonstrate results.  What was refreshing about this Summit was being surrounded by organizations for whom this was an intrinsic motivator, as opposed to something being imposed on them.  Being results-oriented has been shown to improve internal operations and motivate employees, and really, what better driving force is there than that?

We hear “results-driven culture” a lot, especially from high-impact organizations who tend to rely on data to measure their effectiveness (which basically describes all of Commongood Careers’ clients.) I got to thinking about what this means, and how organizations can reflect their results-driven culture in recruiting and hiring for its open positions. Here are a few thoughts:

1. Communicate your organization’s culture in the hiring process. Put your results front and center by highlighting data and outcomes on all external facing materials, such as your job description, fact sheets, and website. When I interview candidates, I am often impressed by how they refer to data relating to an organization’s outcomes. This tells me that not only have they done their homework, but it also provides an indication that the organization was successful in communicating this aspect of its culture.

2. Screen for results-orientation throughout the process. When reviewing resumes, look for quantitative results such as “grew budget by 30%,” or “led a staff of 10 people,” or “raised 25% above budgeted fundraising goal.” For those who have advanced further along in the process, you may want to consider giving an assignment.  In doing so, you’ll want to specify exactly what will be measured and what goals you have in mind for the assignment, to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to results and evaluation. 

3. Set expectations during the hiring process. A major piece of having a results-oriented culture is related to expectations around performance, specifically making it clear what success looks like. Clarify throughout the process, as early as the job description, what a given hire is going to be measured against. During the interview process, talk openly with candidates about what it looks like for someone to meet expectations vs. missing the mark vs. blowing it out of the water at your organization.  This practice will be sure to impress results-oriented job seekers and will speak volumes about the type of culture your organization fosters.

Hiring for a results-driven culture can be easy if you give it the attention it deserves. Think of results-orientation as a competency that you are evaluating, one that is just as important as the main functional area of a given role. With the right intention and focus on this issue, you’ll be successful in hiring for your results-driven culture.

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